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14% of new COVID cases in August have been breakthroughs

Oregon Health Authority has created a pediatric dashboard and will also be launching one that tracks vaccination rates at long-term care facilities.
Credit: Feydzhet Shabanov - stock.adobe.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — As of Thursday, Aug. 19, more than a quarter-million Oregonians have contracted COVID-19, according to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA).

In its daily report, OHA reported 2,971 new positive and presumptive COVID-19 cases, bringing the state’s total number of infections since the beginning of the pandemic to 250,835. It also reported 19 deaths, bringing the state’s death toll to 2,994.

OHA’s new pediatric dashboard

OHA has released a new pediatric dashboard to keep track of infections in people under 18 years old. It will be published weekly on Thursdays. Health officials across the country are seeing more children with the delta variant, however, it is unclear whether the symptoms are more severe among children than the original strain of the virus.

Some key findings from OHA:

  • There have been 31,394 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 among people under 18 years old (12.7% of the total cases).
  • As with COVID-19 cases overall, weekly COVID-19 pediatric cases have increased dramatically since July 2021.
  • Pediatric case rates are highest among some communities of color and Tribal communities: people who identify as Pacific Islander, American Indian/Alaska Native, Black or Hispanic.
  • The report indicates that while pediatric case counts have increased, severe outcomes among pediatric patients are rare:
    • 0.9% of pediatric patients have been hospitalized at some point during their COVID-19 illness.
    • There have been two reported deaths with COVID-19 among people under 18 years.

Breakthrough cases report

OHA recorded 20,701 cases of COVID-19 between Aug. 1 and Aug. 14. Of those cases, 85.6% of them were unvaccinated people, leaving 14.4% of cases, or 2,982, as breakthrough cases.

There were 52 breakthrough cases in people ages 12-17 and 95 breakthrough cases involved residents at care facilities, senior living facilities or other congregate settings. However, in Oregon as of Aug. 19, health care workers and educators must all be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or six weeks after the vaccine gets full FDA approval, whichever is later.

A summary of the report:

To date, there have been 7,138 vaccine breakthrough cases identified in Oregon. The median age of breakthrough cases is 48 years (range: 12-104), 387 (5.4%) breakthrough cases were residents of care facilities, senior living communities, or other congregate living settings, and 1,813 (25.4%) of cases were 65 and older.

It also shows that the rate of COVID in unvaccinated people is six times that of vaccinated people. The overarching message is clear: getting vaccinated protects you and those around you.

Of the breakthrough cases, 5.8% of cases have been hospitalized and .8% have died. The average age of the breakthrough cases who died is 82. Breakthrough cases remain a small number of infections compared to the 2.36 million Oregonians who are fully vaccinated.

Vaccinations

The number of Oregonians getting vaccinated is increasing.

Oregon has now administered 2,740,551 first and second doses of Pfizer, 1,817,898 first and second doses of Moderna and 191,863 single doses of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines.

As of today, 2,569,143 people have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 2,362,014 people have completed a COVID-19 vaccine series.

Hospitalizations

During an Aug. 19 press conference with Gov. Kate Brown, the state’s epidemiologist, OHA and Dr. Jeff Absalon with St. Charles in Bend, the topic of crowded hospitals was thoroughly discussed.

RELATED: Oregon K-12 school staff and health care workers required to get vaccinated against COVID-19

Oregon has a record number of people in the hospital with COVID-19; 845 reported on Thursday, 12 more than was reported on Wednesday. There are 224 patients in ICU beds with COVID, another record and two more than was reported on Wednesday.

As of Thursday morning, there are only 41 available ICU beds out of 667 in the state and only 310 hospital beds available out of a total 4,182.

Health officials like Absalon are begging people to get vaccinated or wear a mask and avoid all unnecessary social interaction if they can’t or won’t.

"I can't overstate this, what we’re going through right now is unimaginable," said Absalon. "We are overwhelmed and this is really a dire situation."

He said patients are being treated in emergency units instead of getting ICU beds in places, patients are parked in hallways, normal beds are being turned into surgery suites and healthcare workers who have been fighting this fight for more than a year and a half are exhausted and stretched thin.

New long-term care facility vaccines dashboard

OHA will be launching a new data dashboard to track the vaccination rates at long-term care facilities. It was announced on Aug. 4 that workers in long-term care facilities must be vaccinated by Sept. 30 or partake in weekly testing.

RELATED: Oregon senior care facility saw rare breakthrough cases of COVID-19 despite widespread vaccination

The new dashboard will launch on Friday, August 20.

“This tool is an important resource for OHA and ODHS as we analyze regional and statewide trends, and for facilities as they plan for ongoing COVID-19 vaccination needs,” said Rebecca Pierce, manager of the Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Program in the OHA Public Health Division’s Acute & Communicable Disease Prevention Section.

Long-term care facilities were mandated to report vaccination information effective June 1, before it was voluntary. The data shows that 88% of residents in reporting long-term care facilities have been completely vaccinated against COVID-19, meeting the OHA vaccination goal of 80% in this setting; 67% of long-term care staff have been completely vaccinated.

Cases and deaths

The cases reported on Thursday were found in the following counties:

Baker (14), Benton (14), Clackamas (269), Clatsop (26), Columbia (25), Coos (38), Crook (12), Curry (34), Deschutes (171), Douglas (238), Gilliam (4), Grant (9), Harney (4), Hood River (11), Jackson (345), Jefferson (15), Josephine (188), Klamath (53), Lake (1), Lane (319), Lincoln (57), Linn (82), Malheur (23), Marion (218), Morrow (22), Multnomah (225), Polk (67), Sherman (5), Tillamook (44), Umatilla (70), Union (64), Wallowa (16), Wasco (17), Washington (207) and Yamhill (64).

The information on the 19 COVID-related deaths was not immediately released by OHA.